Sexiest Workshops: Marco Fumagalli's Vespa Paradise
In one of the last episodes of our "Most Sexiest Workshops" series, Jesco was allowed to visit Vittorio Tessera 's heaven for Lambretta fans. But there's just as much of a paradise for Vespas in Milan, Italy, where Marco Fumagalli has built up a collection that rivals even the official Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. There are more than 300 two-wheelers in the 1,500 square metre hall, plus magazines, toys, posters, badges and much more related to the cult scooter. But Marco's motorised life didn't start with a Vespa.
From the Enduro to the Vespa 50
As a teenager, the 50-year-old entrepreneur wanted to ride a motorbike, but a Vespa was out of the question: "A Vespa is not a motorbike," was his opinion at the time. So in 1987 his parents bought him the Aprilia Tuareg Rally, a small Enduro. It wasn't until four years later, when Marco had just turned 18, that his eyes fell on a Vespa 50 Special Revival in burgundy. He wanted it and bought it. From that day on, he rattled around with the two-stroke.
But there were many distractions and Marco discovered vehicles on four wheels. He got into kart racing, made his racing car debut in the second half of the 1990s and discovered his passion for historic cars and motorbikes. And because the Vespa also has a long history, Marco visited old dealers, explored warehouses, visited farms and descended into dark cellars - always in search of aged scooters, which he bought and restored. The Marco Fumagalli collection began to emerge.
With the Vespa on the salt lake
In 2005 Marco saw a film that was to change his life: The World's Fastest Indian(With Heart and Hand) with Anthony Hopkins. Director Roger Donaldson tells the story of Burt Munro, a New Zealander, who reconditioned an Indian motorbike from 1920 and broke the national speed record in the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1967. Marco wants to go there too. With a scooter. Something no one before him has ever done.
Together with the Vespa Club Milan, he studies rules and regulations. The bad news: scooters are not allowed. But the men don't think about giving up, they build two Vesps (100 cc and 125 cc) with three wheels to be able to participate in the category "sidecar". But even with that, they can't get an official entry in the book of records because the engines don't meet the strict regulations. But Marco and his team fulfilled their dream in 2015: they are the first racers on a Vespa to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway. in 2017, the next participation followed and Marco still has plans for the future. He wants to put the Vespa's engine on the axle, just like on an Ape, and then compete again at Bonneville.
More treasures on four wheels
Jesco learns all this and much more as he strolls through the exhibition with Marco. Scooters from all eras and licensed constructions from all corners of our planet stand next to curiosities such as a jet ski from Piaggio. They talk shop, tell many anecdotes and finally they have reached the end of the tour. But Jesco is not yet satisfied, because isn't there another collection behind the collection? Marco laughs and leads the guest from Landsberg to another area where the vehicles with four wheels are. And what comes next has to be seen ... we only say: Lotus, Porsche, Lancia, Bugatti and and and.
Even today, Marco Fumagalli still does his rounds in historic cars on the racetracks of this world. The last time he was on the road was at the Hockenheimring in May 2023. With an Argo JM19 C and a Theodore TR1. But when he is not in a speed frenzy, he is happy to open the doors of his museum and give a personal guidance. Contact can be made through the Vespa Club Milan. So - if you happen to be in the area: a visit is a must!